Many locals sign on to play close to home; WVSU gets 32 to sign
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Signing Day is not just a day for schools like West Virginia and Marshall to pad their rosters with top high school talent. Smaller Division I and Division II schools get in on the action too, and that level is where a number of area football players will call home this fall.
Many of those players signed national letters of intent Wednesday to stay close to home and play in the Mountain State. Nitro wide receiver Ethan Clark, Sissonville quarterback Austin Crawford and Hurricane lineman Caleb Craddock all signed with Glenville State, which had to battle West Virginia State for Craddock according to Hurricane coach Jeremy Taylor.
"Caleb was torn," Taylor said. "He decided on Glenville. When I talked to him I told him to make sure if football doesn't work out you still want to go to school there."
Glenville may not be done with the Kanawha Valley either. South Charleston coach Donnie Mays said Black Eagles' lineman Dom Orcutt will sign with the Pioneers today.
George Washington had a trio of players - Ryan Switzer (North Carolina), Dustin Crouser (Charlotte) and Jordan Clay (Air Force) - sign with Division I schools but the Patriots also had Jacob Whitlock sign with Alderson-Broaddus and Sam Plantz with Concord.
Concord also got signed letters from two members of Wahama's Class A state championship team - linebacker Zach Wamsley and quarterback Trenton Gibbs.
Winfield had four football players sign to play in college. T.C. Kester and Garrett Grafton each signed with West Virginia State while Seth Lewis signed with A-B and A.J. Covert signed with Eastern Kentucky.
"All these guys are taking a plunge to the next level," Winfield coach Craig Snyder said. "We're awfully proud of them."
State also signed St. Albans running back Drew Kirby and kicker/punter Gavin Smith.
Just because a player did not sign a letter of intent on Wednesday does not mean they will not eventually sign to play college football.
Capital coach Jon Carpenter said he expected Davon Tyson to possibly sign somewhere in the next few days (he did not say where). Hurricane kicker Michael Molina is hoping to walk on at WVU or Marshall according to Taylor, who also said the Redskins' Zach Cooper was still looking at schools such as Robert Morris and VMI.
West Virginia State got signatures from 32 players, including a haul of 11 players from West Virginia.
In addition to the players from Winfield and St. Albans, the Yellow Jackets also signed Wayne linebacker Dwight Blankenship, Jefferson's Darrod Doleman and Geoffrey Walker, Nicholas County's Dustyn Murphy, Brooke's Raleigh Mason, Cabell Midland's Kurt Jones and Huntington's Jarod Martin.
New WVSU coach Jon Anderson said in a news release from the university that making inroads in West Virginia was a top priority for himself and his staff since taking over in Institute late in 2012.
"Number one, we wanted to focus on the state of West Virginia," he said. "We worked hard to introduce ourselves to the state high school coaches and West Virginia ended up being the state where we got the most recruits from."
The University of Charleston added some West Virginia flavor to its roster too. The Golden Eagles signed Martinsburg quarterback Justin "Cookie" Clinton, Parkersburg South's Logan Cox and Ritchie County offensive lineman Sammy Hall.
Reach Tom Bragg at email@example.com.